Stanley and The Nut in 1870 (AOT,
Stanley's site was chosen by the Van Diemen's Land Company for the first European settlement in the north-west, because it was the only one with the necessary sheltered deepwater anchorage and surrounding area of grassland for immediate grazing. Settlement started in 1826. Edward Curr, the Company's chief agent, resided in an imposing home, Highfield, built on the hill overlooking the settlement. The township was surveyed in 1843 and named Stanley after the Secretary of State for Colonies.
Stanley achieved limited growth as a port for the district's expanding agricultural, rural and forestry industries, but its trade declined with improved road and rail connections to Burnie in the 1950s. The port is now used only by the local fishing fleet, but the town's historic significance has become a tourist drawcard.
Further reading: K Pink & A Ebdon, Beyond the ramparts, Smithton, 1988; K Pink & G Vowles, Against the tide, Hobart, 1998.